For the first time in a long time, I found myself feeling excited about New York City... that warm fuzzy Frank Sinatra 'New York, New York' feeling came back, and boy did it hit hard! Having lived in Manhattan for two years while I studied for my masters at New York University, I became accustomed to the buzz of the Big Apple, and so the city stopped exciting me. This really influenced my decision to move to back London (I wrote a previous blog post about it here). However, last week was my first visit since leaving, and surprisingly, I had a blast! New York, it seems I have not quite given up on you. I'm glad to say that my admiration for this concrete-jungle-where-dreams-are made-of (Thanks Jay-Z), has now returned.
My six nights in the city were eventful with lots of work meetings and performance gigs, but I found time to play too! If I'm really being honest with myself, food was a big thing that drew me back to the city. On the first night I found myself backstage stuffing my face with buttery popcorn at the Barclays Center amidst hip-hop heads at G-Eazy's sold-out concert. By day three I was bloated from the delicious food from Chinatown and East Village. But of course DJing kept me on my toes! I played at different venues, from Under Bar at Harlem to Boudoir in Brooklyn, finishing my last gig at Troy Bar at the Meatpacking District. Each experience was wildly different and captured the city's diverse demographic.
Despite being in the same old New York, it seems the summer sun made everything glisten that much more. In the city where most people keep their heads down, I got more smiles, and most shockingly, someone actually held the door open for me at Starbucks! Wowza! Despite the country's political uncertainty, New York seemed to be getting on with life - and work. As my days progressed, I almost forgot this was the same city I used to live in. For once, the pace of the city was actually motivating, rather than just a rush. Although I was living in the fast lane, I still had time to enjoy myself, and on my last evening had a wild night out in Soho with university friends - and had a horrendous hangover the next day to prove it!
Despite all the fun I had this time round, I don't know if New York can ever be a home for me. Maybe it's all the baseball talk, or mandatory tipping, or even that the streets are gridded and numbered. Or maybe I just secretly love London's perpetual rain and the dry British humour... As I stepped out of the yellow taxi and into the John F. Kennedy airport to catch my flight back to London, I was all smiles. Smiling because there was satisfaction of a great trip, and more importantly, a rekindled love for New York City!